So, you’ve taken all the appropriate measures to ensure your heart is healthy, but did you know having a healthy mouth can contribute to your healthy heart as well? So taking that trip to the family dentist is about more than just your teeth. Having unhealthy gums and teeth could potentially lead to heart disease.
How are Tooth and Gum Disease Linked to Heart Problems?
While no conclusive evidence exists definitively linking tooth and gum diseases to cardiac disease, there is enough of a correlation between failing periodontal health and poor cardiac health to draw conclusions worth making a note of.
Poor oral and poor heart health usually go hand in hand. Smokers, people who are overweight, and people with high blood pressure and/or diabetes, are slightly more at risk for poor oral health than non-smokers who maintain a healthy diet and activity level.
Diabetes often causes patients to have dry mouth and gums, leading to infections, including thrush – a yeast infection in the mouth and throat, otherwise known as candida. Left untreated, the fungus that causes a thrush infection would be left to grow and could harden on your esophagus or arteries, as well as causing other health complications.
Inflammation from chronic diseases and inflammation from gum infection are very similar and are caused by the same thing; the body’s response to infection. The build-up of inflammatory substances in the blood stream has been proven to worsen long-term side effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. These diseases could then lead to health complications down the line.
Smoking cigarettes and consuming a diet high in sugar and sweets are clear-cut factors for poor oral health and cardiac health. Many studies have proven how smoking damages your heart and teeth, and just as many studies have proven how damaging refined sugar is for your tooth and heart health. Eliminating these things from your lifestyle is a step in the right direction towards protecting your overall health, but particularly toward maintaining a healthy heart and a healthy set of teeth.
Here are Some Steps You Can Take in Addition to Visiting Your Family Dentist
- If you are a smoker, quit smoking cigarettes. This step will not only protect your body, but especially your cardiovascular and periodontal systems.
- Attempt to cut back, or eliminate sugary foods. Candy, soda, chocolate, etc. are all notoriously bad for your teeth.
- Consume a diet high in calcium, Vitamin D, and omega-3. A healthy diet enriched with vitamin dense, whole foods will benefit the whole body, especially your teeth. Calcium and Vitamin D are vital for bone strength and regeneration. Less refined sugar means less plaque build-up on your teeth, tongue and gums.
- Exercise more and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise is good for the skin, hair, and nails, but especially good for your heart. A healthy heart is a sign of overall positive physical health. Maintain a healthier lifestyle and your whole body will thank you, but especially your teeth and heart.
- Brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly. Discuss any preexisting cardiovascular conditions with your dentist before undergoing any dental procedures.
Taking preventative measures to protect your teeth and heart will only benefit your health and life. Keeping those bi-yearly appointments with your family dentist is certainly a priority.
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